Salinger and Russia: over the abyss

Salinger is dear for my heart and for many other Russians, too. Some things are not meant to be together but they do stick anyway and you cannot tear them apart later (even if you happen to read new translation or even the original text).

Somehow (and the link below nicely explains why) the quality of Rait-Kovaleva's translation surprisingly made the book to be appropriate both for USSR censors and for intellectual crowd:
First introduced to readers during Khrushchev’s thaw, Salinger’s novel became an instant sensation among Soviet readers in the nineteen-sixties, and it has remained a classic. The Party authorized the novel’s translation believing that it exposed the rotting core of American capitalism, but Soviet readers were more likely to see the novel in broader terms, as a psychologically nuanced and universally appealing portrait of a misfit who rebels against the pieties of a conformist society. For a postwar intelligentsia chafing under repressive Communist rule, Holden Caulfield’s voice was electrifying—who knew phony better than these daily consumers of official Soviet language? Teen-agers adopted their hero’s speech patterns—or their Russian equivalents—even though the world of “The Catcher in the Rye,” with its private schools, hotel trysts, and jazz clubs, existed across a great abyss.

The whole article starts with tender passage:
A few years later, while taking time off from college, I wound up teaching English in a provincial school in Russia. When Russian acquaintances asked me where I was from, I’d haul out my worn copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” and tell them that I grew up only a few miles from the author’s house. This had a magical effect: it turned out that Salinger was just as revered in Russia as in America—if not more so. “Over the Abyss in Rye,” as “Catcher” is called there, was particularly beloved.

No comments:

Post a Comment